United Kingdom Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace has announced that record size UK Carrier Strike Group led by HMS Queen Elizabeth is set for a 28-week deployment, from North Atlantic to the Indo-Pacific, from May to December.
According UK government, the Carrier Strike Group will conduct engagements with Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Japan and India as part of the UK’s tilt towards the Indo-Pacific region. Elements of the strike group are expected to visit more than 40 countries and undertake over 70 engagements.
“The entire nation can be proud of the dedicated men and women who for more than six months will demonstrate to the world that the UK is not stepping back but sailing forth to play an active role in shaping the international system of the 21st Century,” Wallace said.
HMS Queen Elizabeth will be joined by a surface fleet of Type 45 destroyers, HMS Defender and HMS Diamond, Type 23 anti-submarine frigates HMS Kent and HMS Richmond, and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s RFA Fort Victoria and RFA Tidespring. A Royal Navy Astute-class submarine armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles will also be deployed for support.
On the carrier’s flight deck will be 8 Royal Air Force F-35B Lightning II jets. Also deployed are 4 Wildcat maritime attack helicopters, 7 Merlin Mk2 anti-submarine helicopters and 3 Merlin Mk4 commando helicopters.
A company of Royal Marines Commandos will also be deployed aboard the aircraft carrier. The UK government said a US Navy destroyer, a frigate from the Netherlands and a squadron of US Marine Corps F-35B jets are also fully integrated.